August 14, 2008
There was a time when a creature, half monkey, half man, stalked the halls of Hoboken's schools and held the student body in terror. Maybe he was a man with the head of a monkey; maybe he was just a guy wearing a monkey mask. It was said that he abducted children, threw them out the school windows, and even murdered a teacher.
The Hoboken police department took the story seriously enough to establish a task force to find and apprehend the perpetrator. It came to naught. Slezak put me on the story a few months ago when he wrote "lots of people claim to have seen him...but never caught him. (HE'S OUR BIG FOOT.)"
It has been said that he could be seen late at night, roaming the streets, spotted by barflies and inebriated little old ladies. Such tales exist wherever bars exist, so I tend to discount them, but there is something interesting in this one.
Since learning of him, I've been having a little trouble placing the monkey man in time. Slezak was in high school in the 1950s; the Internet says he roamed the streets in the '80s, and whatever it was seems to be dead and gone.
My readers are well informed of the legends and the reality of growing up in Hoboken in decades past. If anyone has a monkey man story, let it be known here -- or, if I get no comments, let us lay the story to rest once and for all.